Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS6854850 B2
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 10/347,728
Publication dateFeb 15, 2005
Filing dateJan 21, 2003
Priority dateJan 23, 2002
Fee statusLapsed
Also published asUS20030137641
Publication number10347728, 347728, US 6854850 B2, US 6854850B2, US-B2-6854850, US6854850 B2, US6854850B2
InventorsZvi Yaniv
Original AssigneeSi Diamond Technology, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multiple images from a single projector
US 6854850 B2
Abstract
An image projection system capable of projecting images to multiple screens or viewing surfaces. The system uses a moveable mirror to direct the projected images to the screens. The moveable mirror may work in concert with one or more fixed mirrors to reflect the projected images to screens in a variety of configurations relative to the projector.
Images(4)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(20)
1. A multiple-image projector system comprising:
an image projector for projecting an image retrieved from an image storage means containing images to be displayed on a plurality of screens;
a plurality of fixed mirrors;
a moveable mirror placed in the path of the projected image and positionable to reflect the projected image to a selected fixed mirror;
wherein each fixed mirror is positioned to reflect the projected image to one of the plurality of screens; and
wherein the moveable mirror moves continuously and wherein the moveable mirror has no more than one highly reflective surface.
2. The multiple-image projector system of claim 1 wherein said moveable mirror is positioned by a motor means.
3. The multiple-image projector system of claim 1 further comprising means for moving the moveable mirror to reposition the projected image sequentially onto each fixed mirror in a loop at a cycle frequency such that the image projected to the screen appears constant to a viewer of the image.
4. A multiple-image projector system comprising:
an image projector for projecting a light image;
a plurality of screens;
a plurality of fixed mirrors;
a moveable mirror placed in the path of the projected light image and positionable to reflect the projected light image to a selected fixed mirror;
wherein each fixed mirror is positioned to reflect the projected light image to
one of the plurality of screens; and
a means for moving the moveable mirror in a flip-flop manner to reposition the projected light image onto a selected fixed mirror.
5. The multiple-image projector system of claim 1 wherein one or more of the screens is opaque.
6. A multiple-image projector system comprising:
an image projector for projecting a light image;
a plurality of screens;
a plurality of fixed mirrors;
a moveable mirror placed in the path of the projected light image and positionable to reflect the projected light image to a selected fixed mirror;
wherein each fixed mirror is positioned to reflect the projected light image to one of the plurality of screens; and
wherein one or more of the screens is translucent.
7. A multiple-image projector system comprising:
an image projector for projecting a light image;
a plurality of screens; and
a moveable mirror placed in the path of the projected light image and positionable to reflect the projected light image to a selected one of the plurality of screens, wherein said moveable mirror is positioned by a motor means, wherein one or more of the screens is translucent.
8. A multiple-image projector system comprising:
an image projector for projecting a light image;
a screen with first and second projectable sides;
first and second fixed primary mirrors;
a moveable mirror placed in the path of the projected light image and positionable to reflect a projected light image to a selected fixed primary mirror wherein the moveable mirror moves continuously and the moveable mirror has no more than one highly reflective surface; and
a plurality of fixed secondary mirrors each positioned to receive the projected light image from a fixed primary mirror and to reflect the projected light image onto said screen.
9. The multiple-image projector system of claim 8 wherein said moveable mirror is positioned by a motor means.
10. The multiple-image projector system of claim 8 further comprising means for moving the moveable mirror to reposition the projected light image sequentially onto the first and second fixed primary mirrors in a loop at a cycle frequency such that the image projected to the screen appears constant to a viewer of the image.
11. The multiple-image projector system of claim 8 wherein the screen is opaque.
12. A multiple-image projector system comprising:
an image projector for projecting a light image;
a screen with first and second projectable sides;
first and second fixed primary mirrors;
a moveable mirror placed in the path of the projected light image and positionable to reflect a projected light image to a selected fixed primary mirror; and
a plurality of fixed secondary mirrors each positioned to receive the projected light image from a fixed primary mirror and to reflect the projected light image onto said screen, wherein the screen is translucent.
13. A multiple-image projector system comprising:
an image projector for projecting a light image;
a screen with first and second projectable sides;
first and second fixed primary mirrors;
a moveable mirror placed in the path of the projected light image and positionable to reflect a projected light image to a selected fixed primary mirror; and
a plurality of fixed secondary mirrors each positioned to receive the projected light image from a fixed primary mirror and to reflect the projected light image onto said screen, wherein the screen's ability to pass through light is variable.
14. A multiple-image projector system comprising:
an image projector for projecting a light image;
a screen with first and second projectable sides;
first and second fixed primary mirrors;
a moveable mirror placed in the path of the projected light image and positionable to reflect a projected light image to a selected fixed primary mirror;
a plurality of fixed secondary mirrors each positioned to receive the projected light image from a fixed primary mirror and to reflect the projected light image onto said screen; and
means for moving the moveable mirror in a flip-flop manner to reposition the projected light image onto a selected fixed mirror.
15. A multiple-image projector system comprising:
an image projector for projecting a light image;
a plurality of fixed holographic mirrors;
a plurality of moveable mirrors placed in the path of the projected light image and positionable to reflect the projected light image to a selected fixed mirror; and
wherein each fixed holographic mirror is positioned to reflect the light image to a holographic display medium.
16. The multiple-image projector system of claim 6 wherein one or more of the plurality of screens comprises particulate matter.
17. The multiple-image projector system of claim 8 wherein the moveable mirror is substantially flat.
18. The multiple-image projector system of claim 6 wherein one or more of the plurality of fixed mirrors has a concave-shaped mirrored surface.
19. The multiple-image projector system of claim 1 wherein a mirrored surface of the moveable mirror lies in a plane that is not parallel to an axis of rotation of the mirrored surface.
20. The multiple-image projector system of claim 7 wherein one or more of the plurality of screens comprises particulate matter.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/351,295, filed Jan. 23, 2002.

The present invention is also related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/876,400, which is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 09/519,537.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention is generally related to the field of image projection systems, and more particularly to image projectors capable of projecting images to multiple screens or viewing surfaces.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

When projecting images into an audience space, it may be desired to project images onto more than one screen. This may be due to increasing the audience capacity of the image demonstration or to present more information than can be presented on only screen. Typically, multiple images are presented by utilizing as many projectors as the desired number of screens. However, multiple projectors are expensive and it can be difficult to coordinate the presentation between the multiple projectors.

Accordingly, there exists a need to provide a low-cost way to multiplex the images of a single projector; that is, using one projector to present images on multiple screens. In addition to being relatively inexpensive, the multiplexing means should also be sufficiently flexible to allow for different viewing configurations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate a top view of a multiple-image projection system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 1C illustrates a top view of an alternative embodiment of a multiple-image projection system;

FIG. 2 illustrates a top view of an alternative embodiment of a multiple-image projection system showing projection of the images onto one of two sides of a screen;

FIG. 3 illustrates a top view of an alternative embodiment of a multiple image projection system for projecting holographic images;

FIGS. 4A and 4B illustrate a top and side view, respectively, of a rotating mirror mount on a motor for use with the present invention; and,

FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate side views of an alternative rotating mirror mount on a motor for use with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth such as specific screen materials to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without such specific details. In other instances, well-known circuits have been shown in block diagram form in order not to obscure the present invention in unnecessary detail. For the most part, details concerning timing considerations and the like have been omitted in as much as such details are not necessary to obtain a complete understanding of the present invention and are within the skills of persons of ordinary skill in the relevant art.

While the specification concludes with claims defining the features of the invention that are regarded as novel, it is believed that the invention would be better understood from a consideration of the following description in conjunction with the drawing figures, in which like reference numerals are carried forward.

Referring to FIGS. 1A and 1B, a multiple-image projection system 100 embodying principles of the present invention is representatively illustrated. A single projector 101 projects an image at moveable mirror 102 along the path indicated by the arrows. Any well-known projector of images can be used. In the position shown in FIG. 1A, the moveable mirror 102 reflects the projected image toward fixed mirror 103 (as shown by the arrows), which is angled such that mirror 103 further reflects the image toward a display screen 106. FIG. 1B illustrates that moveable mirror 102 can be positioned to reflect the projected image to other fixed mirrors such as illustrated mirror 104, which further reflects the image toward other display screens such as illustrated screen 105.

The means for moving the moveable mirror 102, which is not illustrated in FIGS. 1A and 1B, may be any well-known means for changing the position of a planar object, for example, a motor attached to the non-reflecting side of the mirror. FIGS. 4A, 4B, 5A, and 5B illustrate two possible mirror-motor configurations. In FIGS. 4A and 4B, a motor spindle 403 is connected along a portion of its length to a non-reflecting surface of a mirror 401. The motor 402 rotates the mirror along an axis that is parallel to the plane of the mirror 401. In FIGS. 5A and 5B, a motor spindle 503 is connected at its end to a non-reflecting surface of a mirror 501. The mirror is mounted at an angle desired to properly reflect a projected image. The motor 502 rotates the mirror to reflect the projected image where desired.

The means for moving the moveable mirror 102 could be controlled by any well-known means for controlling the means for moving, such as by an electronic signal provided by a wired, wireless, or networked system. Further, the moveable mirror may be continuously rotated to bring the projected image to each fixed mirror or moved in a flip-flop manner from mirror to mirror. In addition, a moveable mirror with more than one reflecting surface could be used to decrease the movement necessary to provide an image to a particular screen. An alternative embodiment includes continuously rotating the moveable mirror as stated above so that it repositions the projected light image onto each fixed mirror sequentially in a loop at a cycle frequency such that the image projected to the screen appears constant to a viewer of the image.

It will be readily apparent to a person of ordinary skill that a multiple image projection system is not restricted to the illustration in FIGS. 1A and 1B. It is envisioned that a system including more than two screens, variable numbers of fixed mirrors, or more than one moveable mirror could be utilized. FIG. 1C illustrates an alternative multiple-image projection system that includes no fixed mirrors, instead reflecting the projected image directly to a screen 105 or 106 from the movable mirror 102.

Referring now to FIG. 2, an alternative multiple image projection system 200 is illustrated. As in FIGS. 1A and 1B, the light image from projector 201 is projected towards moveable mirror 202, which is positioned by a moving means similar to that described for FIGS. 1A and 1B. The projected image is then reflected from moveable mirror 202 toward one of a first set of fixed mirrors, either 203 or 204. The first set of fixed mirrors 203 and 204 are positioned so that they reflect the light image toward a second set of fixed mirrors 205 and 206 respectively. The second set of fixed mirrors further reflect the projected image to a side of screen 207 making it possible to view an image on either side of screen 207. Screen 207 may be opaque, translucent, or switchable as described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/876,400, which is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 09/519,537, both of which are incorporated by reference herein. It will be readily appreciated that this system of projecting an image onto either side of a screen alleviates the problem of reversed images typically created when viewing an image through a translucent screen.

It should be understood that many types of mirrors may be used within the present invention, such as grating mirrors, metallic mirrors, and cold mirrors, and also the shape of the mirror may vary, i.e., parabolic or flat. The mirrors may also be made of many different types of materials. Referring to FIG. 3, fixed, parabolic, holographic mirrors 302 and 303 are utilized in projection system 300 to reflect images from moveable mirrors 304 and 305 from projector 301 to a holographic display medium 306. Holographic mirrors are designed utilizing holography by imprinting the material, such as plastic, with an interference pattern suitable for a specific optical function. A reflective substrate may then be designed to work in conjunction with the interference imprinted material by knowing the location of the source of light illuminating the interference pattern and using well-known holographic calculations. By using holography for the specific system shown one can achieve better efficiency, and if needed, even make the mirrors smaller in dimensions.

Although the present invention and its advantages have been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions and alterations can be made herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4655539 *Oct 23, 1984Apr 7, 1987Aerodyne Products CorporationHologram writing apparatus and method
US5788352 *Oct 25, 1994Aug 4, 1998Hughes Aircraft CompanyMultiplexed multi-image source display writing system
US6170953 *Mar 22, 1999Jan 9, 2001Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.Laser video projector for projecting image to a plurality of screens
US6431711 *Feb 8, 2001Aug 13, 2002International Business Machines CorporationMultiple-surface display projector with interactive input capability
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7794094 *May 26, 2006Sep 14, 2010Sony CorporationSystem and method for multi-directional positioning of projected images
US7901084Nov 2, 2006Mar 8, 2011Microvision, Inc.Image projector with display modes
US8016434Jun 5, 2008Sep 13, 2011Disney Enterprises, Inc.Method and system for projecting an animated object and concurrently moving the object's projection area through an animation pattern
US8118434Jun 21, 2011Feb 21, 2012Disney Enterprises, Inc.Projecting an animated object and concurrently moving the object's projection area through an animation pattern
USRE41062Apr 7, 2005Dec 29, 2009Novus Displays, LLCImage projection system
WO2007056110A2 *Nov 2, 2006May 18, 2007Microvision IncImage projector with selectable display modes
Classifications
U.S. Classification353/94, 359/1, 353/99, 359/449, 359/869, 359/865, 359/857, 359/872
International ClassificationG03B21/26
Cooperative ClassificationG03B21/26
European ClassificationG03B21/26
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 9, 2013FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20130215
Feb 15, 2013LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Oct 1, 2012REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Aug 15, 2008FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
May 16, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: NOVUS DISPLAYS LLC, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ELECTRONIC BILLBOARD TECHNOLOGY, INC.;REEL/FRAME:019297/0564
Effective date: 20060622
May 15, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: ELECTRONIC BILLBOARD TECHNOLOGY, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: NUNC PRO TUNC ASSIGNMENT;ASSIGNOR:NANO-PROPRIETARY, INC.;REEL/FRAME:019287/0815
Effective date: 20060301
Owner name: NANO-PROPRIETARY, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:SI DIAMOND TECHNOLOGY, INC.;REEL/FRAME:019287/0660
Effective date: 20030617
Jan 21, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: SI DIAMOND TECHNOLOGY, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:YANIV, ZVI;REEL/FRAME:013681/0091
Effective date: 20030106
Owner name: SI DIAMOND TECHNOLOGY, INC. 3006 LONGHORN BLVD., S
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:YANIV, ZVI /AR;REEL/FRAME:013681/0091